It started by chance four decades ago and 28 books later The Window Press is still going strong.
Now Petworth historian Peter Jerrome and illustrator Jonathan Newdick are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a brochure listing all the books they have produced: “It’s unusual for a small enterprise like ours to go on for 40 years,” said Peter, “and it owes a tremendous amount to Jonathan, his layout skills and his determination never to compromise.
“I can’t even remember how I met him now, but I imagine it was through George Garland, the Petworth photographer.
“George had a manuscript of ‘Tales of Old Petworth’ which he always wanted to publish. I felt we should do it for Petworth and Jonathan wanted to try out doing a book and doing the illustrations. So that’s how we started.”
Tales of Old Petworth was published in 1976, two years before George Garland died, recalling Petworth before photography.
And a year later they produced ‘Cloakbag and Common Purse’, a result of research Peter had carried out on the enclosure of Petworth Park in the 16th century.
When George Garland died their tribute to him was ‘Not Submitted Elsewhere’, the title taken from the words printed on the back of so many of George’s photos as he struggled for recognition as a newspaper photographer. It was so successful that several more books featuring the Garland photographs followed.
Among Peter’s favourites are ‘So Sweet as the Phlox Is’, the fascinating pre first world war diary of Florence Rapley, a religious and educated woman who married a farm labourer at Heath End: “I thought at the time it was extremely important and it was a turning point for The Window Press which then started doing limited editions.”
Most recently, ‘Elegy for a Small Shop’ is Peter’s account of running a green grocery in Petworth and ‘Petworth – most of the time’ is an account of his personal early memories: “If I conked out tomorrow those are the ones I would want to be remembered for,” he said.
The celebratory brochure listing all the books is available from The Window Press by contacting 01798 342562.
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